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Ryan Cohan

Pianist/composer and Guggenheim Fellow Ryan Cohan has distinguished himself as a vital original voice to be heard amongst the elite young jazz artists on the global music scene today.

Born June 6, 1971, Ryan was introduced to music very early in life by his mother, who was a music teacher as well as a classical pianist and guitarist. Although, he began reading music even sooner, his formal training began at age nine on the violin. A few years later he switched to the keyboard, and by his second year in high school, Ryan knew that he wanted a life dedicated to music and began an intense daily practice regimen at the piano.

Wanting to deepen his formal training led Ryan to DePaul University where he received his bachelor’s of music degree in jazz performance in 1993. At DePaul, Ryan studied extensively with jazz pianist Larry Novak and arranger, producer Cliff Colnot; later he was tutored by improvisation guru David Bloom. During two summer breaks in college, Ryan received full scholarships from Blue Note Records to study at The Skidmore Jazz Institute in New York whose faculty included the late legend, Milt Hinton.

Concurrently, Ryan began making his mark on the Chicago music scene playing with the region’s top jazz and Latin musicians. He has since performed with such luminaries and stellar ensembles as Freddie Hubbard, Curtis Fuller, Joe Locke, Paquito D’Rivera, Jon Faddis, Kurt Elling, Pat La Barbera, Andy Narell, Regina Carter, Michal Urbaniak, Orbert Davis and The Chicago Jazz Philharmonic, The Chicago Jazz Ensemble and The Chicago Chamber Musicians among many others. Ryan’s diverse resume also includes a substantial list of commercial studio performing credits, arranging for the Grant Park Symphony with Otis Clay, and the music director position with the Chicago Human Rhythm Project.

As an educator, Ryan has been the assistant director of small and large jazz ensembles at The University Of Illinois at Chicago, faculty member of the Skidmore Jazz Institute in New York, and he continues to work as a jazz artist clinician at universities and high schools throughout the U.S and abroad.